Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

WSJ: Wealthy Americans' Income Soars, Average Tax Rate Plummets

Wall Street Journal:  Richest Americans See Their Income Share Grow, by Jesse Drucker:

In a new sign of increasing inequality in the U.S., the richest 1% of Americans in 2006 garnered the highest share of the nation's adjusted gross income for two decades, and possibly the highest since 1929, according to IRS data. Meanwhile, the average tax rate of the wealthiest 1% fell to its lowest level in at least 18 years. The group's share of the tax burden has risen, though not as quickly as its share of income....

According to the figures, the richest 1% reported 22% of the nation's total AGI in 2006. That is up from 21.2% a year earlier, and is the highest in the 19 years that the IRS has kept strictly comparable figures. The 1988 level was 15.2%. Earlier IRS data show the last year the share of income belonging to the top 1% was at such a high level as it was in 2006 was in 1929, but changes in measuring income make a precise comparison difficult.

The average tax rate in 2006 for the top 1%, based on AGI, was 22.8%, down slightly from 2005 and the fifth straight year of declines. The average tax rate of this group was 28.9% in 1996, and was 24% in 1988. As the wealthiest Americans' share of income has risen, so has their share of the income-tax burden. The group paid 39.9% of all income taxes in 2006, compared with 27.6% in 1988. In the most recently reported five years, however, the share of income reported by the very wealthy has risen faster than the group's share of income taxes.


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Jon, you don't understand the public funding system, and maybe you don't want to understand it. But if you do look at

But if you prefer a corrupt political system, do nothing. We already have one. But then, don't complain about high taxes because that's what fuels them.

Jack Lohman

Posted by: Jack Lohman | Jul 25, 2008 4:21:45 PM

Gee Jack,

Since only about 50% of people pay taxes, how about cutting the public funding fee by 50% to $5 per voter, payable at the poll. A good old poll tax is a more direct, fair and elegant solution.

Posted by: Jon Burrows | Jul 24, 2008 11:03:03 AM

Of course. And it is the rich who fund the elections. Only when we have public funding of campaigns will we see proper taxation. And at $10 per taxpayer per year it would be a bargain.

Jack Lohman

Posted by: Jack Lohman | Jul 24, 2008 8:12:14 AM